Mu­seum sell­ing off arte­facts


What lies be­hind a set of bright blue doors at the back of an ag­ing Cen­tral Otago town hall might sur­prise some peo­ple.

A sin­gle light, hung from rafters be­neath the stage above, shines a dull light on an ar­ray of gar­den tools, wheelie bins, an old leather chair, pipes and empty drums.

Squint fur­ther, and at the back of the dark and dusty base­ment space of Cromwell’s Memo­rial Hall, there are two wooden trunks, an an­tique wooden cup­board and wardrobe, a bro­ken vi­o­lin and vi­o­lin case, an old wash­ing ma­chine and grind­ing ma­chine. A mounted stag’s head stares up at the ceil­ing, and its antlers half ob­scure a large frame which ap­pears to be a roll of hon­our.

These dust-cov­ered relics are part of the Cromwell Mu­seum’s col­lec­tion - some of which will be sold off be­cause of a lack of stor­age, poor con­di­tion and du­plic­ity.

Mu­seum di­rec­tor Edith McKay said the de-ac­ces­sion­ing of some items was not a de­ci­sion made lightly and there was a strin­gent process re­quired be­fore it could be done.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, even mu­se­ums have to spring clean and as Cromwell Mu­seum has not had one for many years, the time has now come for this to hap­pen. The de­ci­sion to do this has not been ar­rived at with­out a lot of thought and con­sul­ta­tion and train­ing.’’

Te Papa and Mu­se­ums of Aotearoa re­quired mu­se­ums to fol­low strict guide­lines and pro­to­cols, she said.

‘‘Any ob­ject that is not re­quired, passes through many pro­cesses be­fore we can even think about de-ac­ces­sion­ing these items. This in­cludes trac­ing and con­tact­ing any known donors or donor’s de­scen­dants. Once the pro­cesses and pro­to­cols have been ex­e­cuted the list is re­viewed by the Cromwell Com­mu­nity Board and passed onto the Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict Coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive for fi­nal ap­proval.’’

A num­ber of items in the col­lec­tion had been given anony- mously and be­cause of the con­di­tion and du­plic­ity of some pieces, they needed to be re­moved from the col­lec­tion, she said.

The items would be dis­played from Oc­to­ber 15-29 be­side the mu­seum.

Mean­while, the mu­seum was up­dat­ing records and cor­rectly cat­a­logu­ing its col­lec­tion to go into an on­line pro­gramme and pack­aged for stor­age, she said.

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